On The Radar is a weekly SmartShanghai column where we profile new venues that you might like to know about. Here are the facts and our first impressions.
And now for something completely different...
Quick Take: From a pretty diverse team of F&B industry regulars comes a mini roller skating rink-plus-cocktails-plus-bar bites place at Bund Square on Dapu Lu. Burn baby burn... disco inferno!
What is it:
It's a hip lil' rollerskating rink called, succinctly, "RIINK", assuming the old space of the second location for Shanghai's only metal bar, Inferno (coming back soon, hopefully). It's Ting Ting (of Roxie and the aforementioned metal bar), partnering with hottie Bund mixologist Geo (The Captain, formerly Unico), and ubiquitous menu Macgyver-er Austin Hu (Diner, Madison Kitchen), with the latter two handling cocktails and bar bites respectively.
The general dimensions of the room are the same as Inferno, but they've gutted and renovated the interior extensively. The bar is still at the back wall on the right when you walk in, but the stage has been replaced with the skates and locker wall. The entire floorspace has been given over to skating space, with a raised lounge seating area at the side. Neon lights line the ceilings and lend the room an '80s Tron kind of vibe. A circular DJ booth in the center delineates a circular skating track.
It's not very big, of course. It's not a full-on regulation-sized roller rink (if those exist?). But it's big enough for casual roller skaters to have a bit of fun on four wheels. The general idea is that it's good for kids in the daytime (there're tons of families in the area), good for an interesting bit of fun with friends at night -- having a few spins around the "track" and then hanging out for some drinks and snacks -- and then good for zany themed parties... pajama parties, superhero parties, and the like.
The logistics of skating: Skate rentals will cost around 50rmb. They haven't quite decided yet. But cheap. And then you can roll for as long as you like with them. They have two kinds. The white kind have light-up wheels that go *FLASH*FLASH*FLASH* when the wheels move. The black ones are silent runners. Sizes: Right now it's EUR 35 to 44. With 45s and 46s coming in soon. Guys with feet above 46 (around US 11)... you're out of luck. Alas, with my burly size 47 feet, all I could do was spectate.
You know what they say about guys with big feet?
They can't skate at RIINK...
...AND THEY HAVE HUGE CO-
Booze on wheels. Could be dangerous. You know in Beijing, they have archery ranges that serve you booze? That's dangerous. Ting Ting assures us that drunk fuckwits will be kindly escorted off the roller rink, should they ever materialize.
So, booze. Cocktails are coming from Geo of The Captain, keeping things funky with a lot of fruity, rum-based concoctions, lots of home-made infusions, and some Tiki-type mixes. Price points are similar to The Captain. 50rmb-60rmb or so. Which is reasonable. They're also using some nice house alcohols -- i.e. Plantation for rum and Citadelle for gin, so expect nicer-than-your-average tasting mixed drinks.
Food is not done yet. But they're working towards creative bar bites and tapas-type dishes. That should be ready for Saturday.
Shanghai's love affair with roller skating rekindled? Where's Roller Mike when you need him?
But yeah, you've got to give it up. It's unique. It's ballsy. It's a nice idea. There's only one of these in Shanghai, that's for sure. Respect to RIINK for breaking out of the genre bars of Shanghai game.
(Whisky bar, whisky bar, whisky bar, tech house club, craft beer bar, beer bottle shop, EDM-Trap club, cafe, cafe, cafe, rinse, wash, repeat.)
Of course, for a lot of expats, the location is a problem. The location's always been the problem, I guess. But it's definitely a fun funky night out. And that might be enough for people to take that longer Didi ride. And you won't be disappointed. It's fun! Going out is supposed to be fun! Definitely worth the trip down.
Roll on, Shanghai.
A suggestion to RIINK management to appease the Shanghai metal heads that might be missing the old Inferno: Have a blackened death metal roller skating night.
Call it "Hell on Wheels".